Convict released early due to error starts family, is re-incarcerated, then pardoned, and now faces deportation
05/30/2017 1:21 pm PDT
The rehabilitated family man says the people suffering the most are his wife and two little boys.
It's a knock on the door Rene Lima-Marin and his family never saw coming: Six years after he's released from prison, cops show up saying there's been a mistake. Rene had 90 more years left to serve.
Now there's a breaking development in this case that has people all over the country talking.
At the age of 19 Rene Lima-Marin was already a hardened criminal, capping a juvenile record with the armed robbery of two video stores in 2000.
Under a harsh "chronic offender program" called C.O.P., the judge orders each of the eight related convictions to run back to back, adding up to an incredible 98 years in prison.
"I acknowledge the fact that I did something wrong," said Rene. "I take responsibility for the fact that I did something wrong. But I also believe that I completed the punishment."
Rene says his public defender told him that with good behavior, he could serve his sentences concurrently and get out in 16 years.
But after only 10 years, Rene was granted parole. He walked out of prison into the arms of his high school sweetheart Jasmine.
"That everyday happy white-picket-fence type of life," said Rene.
Six years go by. Rene's criminal past seems far behind him. But suddenly, things change in a flash.
There was a mistake, a simple clerical error: Rene Lima-Marin shouldn't have been released. And authorities say he has to serve the rest of his sentence: an additional 90 years.
"You're living your life one day, and then out of blue, your whole life's turned around," said Jasmine.
Speaking from behind bars, the rehabilitated family man tells Crime Watch Daily Denver affiliate KDVR that the people suffering the most are his wife and two little boys.
Prosecutors say Rene knew his early release was a mistake -- he maintains that is not true.
"I would have never had a wife. I would have never had children. I would have never bought a house. I would have never done any of those things," said Rene. "But I did those because you let me out. And now they're being punished for something that they had absolutely nothing to do with."
Jasmine takes the fight all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court.
"To give a person the opportunity to taste freedom, to go out and get married, have children, do all these things -- and then to rip that all away from them in the blink of an eye and say 'Well that was our error but you and all of your dependents are going to suffer for it," said Patrick Megaro, Rene Lima-Marin's lawyer.
The court agrees. Rene Lima-Marin is to be released, again.
Then, just one day after the overwhelming judgment, Jasmine gets another excruciating punch to the gut: Immigration officials are waiting for her husband at the prison gates and take Rene into back into custody. Rene Lima-Marin came to the United States from Cuba when he was just a year old, and because he is a convicted felon, he is eligible for deportation.
Hoping to sway immigration officials, Rene's attorneys petition the Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper for a full pardon of his crimes.
Finally, a glimmer of hope: Hickenlooper pardons Rene. His arrest record is now wiped clean.
But will it be enough for federal judge to release him?
"I have a strong, strong, strong belief that the Lord is going to work this out one way or another," said
Until then Rene Lima-Marin sits in custody at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility. He and his family do what they've grown so accustomed to: Wait.
"We are still keeping full faith in God and just praying that everything works out, and that he will come home to us," said Jasmine.
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